What is a doula and why do I need one?

What is a doula and why do I need one?

What is a doula and why do I need one?

A letter to you from Johanna Wagner. Johanna is a doula, the founder of Bumpwise and President of Doulas of Singapore.

 

Hello there,

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I bet you’re excited about the path ahead of you… a whole new chapter of your life begins as you welcome this new bundle of joy into your lives!

It’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed as you’re steering into uncharted territory – I remember how little confidence I had with my first, not knowing that I actually had options! Then wanting to do everything differently for my second, but living in a country wih which I wasn’t familiar and far from family and friends… you really have to surround yourself with people who will give you the right information at the right time, who don’t have their own agenda but your best interest at heart.

Doulas provide just that: they are like a Sherpa guiding you through unfamiliar terrain. We don’t have an opinion on how you should be birthing… all natural, waterbirth, hypnobirthing, with or without pain relief, elective caesarian… whatever is right for you and only you! We want you to feel that you are calling the shots, that you have all the info you need to make an informed choice.

Have you thought about how you want to give birth yet? Who your birth team is going to be? How is your husband feeling about being your pillar of support?

Maybe you’ve attended antenatal classes and it’s made you realise how different things are here, how much more medicalised the system is than what you’re used to from home. And the good news is, you have so many options, so many choices you can make - it is really important that you feel in control of the whole process.

Whichever course of action you choose, be calm in the knowledge that your village is right here, ready for you to come as you are and when it’s the right time for you. You may be away from your family, but your support network is on standby. I don’t have a vision for birth as it is totally unique to each mum – no two bodies are the same, no two births are the same… as much as we think we can control the process, we never know what labour will throw at us. I’m happy when a mum finds her voice, when she feels she is truly supported and she trusts the process and her team enough to surrender to the process and forget everything around her.

You will be spending most of your labour (which can sometimes be challenging and long) at home, then at the hospital with rotating and often over-worked staff and the obstetrician may only come in for the last 10 minutes or so before your baby is born. Having a doula means you know who will be with you on the day, someone who has accompanied you throughout your pregnancy, who knows all about your preferences and wishes. She’s a familiar face to cheer you on during your labour and until you’re safely settled into your postnatal room. No shift changes, no other clients to take care of at the same time, your doula is there only for you… and your partner, of course!

You can rely on your doula to support you at home, help you decide when it’s time to go to the hospital, help you at every crossroads during pregnancy and birth when you need to understand the situation and possible alternatives to make a decision that works for you. They can also help initiate breastfeeding, show you how to handle your baby, and how to heal and recover after the big event!

For me, becoming a doula was somewhat accidental… I embarked on this journey when my family was complete. One of the most experienced doulas in Singapore at the time suggested I look into the training to be able to support expat clients in their mother tongue, as I speak English, German, Spanish and French fluently. Thinking about how unprepared I was for my first birth, I wish I had had someone to guide me back then – and I happened to fall in love with the job, or rather I think it’s a vocation. I never knew it would take over my life as it has, but I love every minute of it and am happiest when I’m supporting my clients through this unforgettable event in their lives!

Many clients ask me what my birth philosophy is… the simple answer: I don’t have one. It is important to me that you choose what feels right for you and I will be there to support you every step of the way. No matter what the birth outcome, when you feel listened to and in control, you will look back on your baby’s birth with joy and no regrets.

As a certified childbirth doula, childbirth educator and postpartum doula, I have supported over 250 births here in Singapore and worked with many of the most sought-after obstetricians. Certified with Childbirth International, I have continued my training in many complementary modalities – Spinning Babies, Microbiome & Epigenetics, Fertility Counseling, and much more. Being a clinical herbalist and naturopath, I support my clients with natural remedies throughout pregnancy and beyond.

I’d love to chat about how I can support you: finding the right caregiver and hospital, helping you formulate your birth plan, private antenatal classes, or supporting you at birth… get in touch to arrange a meet and greet free of charge!

Look after yourself,

Johanna xx

 

Johanna Wagner | BumpWise

Johanna Wagner is the President of Doulas of Singapore and the Founder and Owner of BumpWise. Since starting out as a doula in 2013, she has supported over 250 births at all the hospitals that allow doula access here in Singapore. Birth is something a woman will never forget and guiding a mum through this process, being there as she transcends her own limits, is absolutely priceless. Johanna is like a mountain guide; bringing you where you have never gone before, urging you to go the extra mile when you think you can’t go any further – because the view at the end will be incredible. BumpWise also offers prenatal classes, postnatal workshops and a community support group which you can read about in the following chapters. Johanna speaks fluent English, German, Spanish and French.

Contact Johanna on 9795 7949, johanna@bumpwise.sg, facebook.com/bumpwise.

 

Doulas of Singapore

Doulas registered with Doulas of Singapore (DoS) are professional birth workers who have achieved certification with internationally renowned institutions. They know all about birth and the postpartum period, and they have insight into the practices and protocols of all the hospitals in Singapore. You can get in touch with any of the independent doulas for a free, no-strings-attached conversation – their details are listed on the Find-A-Doula page of their website.

Visit www.doulasofsingapore.com.

 

Red Miller | Love Based Birth

Red Miller is a Birth Consultant, Holistic Midwife, Author & Founder of Love Based Birth and she is passionate about helping couples have awesome births. She has attended nearly 800 births in more than 10 countries including Nepal, USA and Singapore; in diverse settings from rice fields to a palace. Red guides couples through a unique step-by-step process to help them physically, mentally and emotionally prepare for birth. They learn how to manage and significantly reduce the pain of labor, transform their fears into positive action and navigate the health system in which they are working.

Red’s book ‘From Fear to Love: Your Guide to a Fearless Magical Birth’ is available on Amazon. She is also the creator of the Love Based Birth Hive, an online, holistic community of parents and wellness professionals created for the millions of women around the world who are seeking deeper connection, joy, love and magic while becoming mothers.

Contact Red on 9487 6230, red@lovebasedbirth.com, www.lovebasedbirth.com.

 

Natasha Cullen | Beloved Bumps

Natasha is a mother of two boys, a midwife from the UK and the founder of Beloved Bumps. She qualified with a BSc Midwifery in 2009, and went on to work in London where she stayed before moving to Singapore with her family in 2017. Having worked in all aspects of midwifery, she mostly worked as a senior midwife on the Labour Ward, as she is incredibly passionate about supporting and advocating for mothers during birth. In the UK, midwives are regarded as the ‘experts in normal birth’, meaning you may never encounter a Doctor during your pregnancy, labour, birth, or postnatally – it is such a privilege to support, watch, learn from, and be present at a woman’s labour, birth and watching a couple become parents for the first time. Natasha loved and missed this so much on arrival to Singapore, that she also trained to become a CBI certified doula, and so continues to support couples on their remarkable journeys into parenthood. Natasha is incredibly devoted to supporting couples in Singapore at whatever time of pregnancy or postpartum needed – her aim is to support and empower couples to feel more confident and relaxed as they become new parents.

Contact Natasha on 8809 8623, www.belovedbumps.sg, 46 Kim Yam Road, #03-05 Singapore 239351.

 

Avigaïl Riahi | Beloved Bumps

Avigaïl grew up in France where she trained and registered as a midwife. She then worked as a midwife in England for six years and helped hundreds of women deliver safely. Avigaïl has a special interest in research and has also worked as a clinical research midwife in London. Whilst working on research studies such as preterm labour, she realised the importance of providing evidence-based information and care.

Much more exciting than this, Avigaïl became a mother herself not long ago and this experience has given her a completely new perspective in her career. Working at Beloved Bumps gives her the opportunity to share her passion about helping women understand their bodies. She also strongly believes that being informed and prepared is the secret to empowering parents-to-be to make their journey, through pregnancy and birth, a time that they will always cherish.

Contact Avigaïl on 8809 8623, www.belovedbumps.sg, 46 Kim Yam Road, #03-05 Singapore 239351.

 

Chantel Kismet | Blooming Births

Chantel believes that every parent deserves a positive experience from conception to pregnancy, birth and beyond into parenthood. Having been through a traumatic birth experience and spiralled down depression, the light at the end of the tunnel led her down this path towards birth work. Chantel is committed to protecting each couple’s experience through education and awareness.

Her classes, “Childbirth with Love” is focused on reframing the way we look at birth and life after baby. Childbirth is a natural part of us and it should be a journey filled with love, pleasure, joy and not fear. The activities and topics covered are geared towards strengthening the mind, preparing for a comfortable birth, fostering a deeper relationship with yourself, connecting deeper with your partner, learning how to navigate the new terrain of parenthood.

She also offers preparation classes to parents who are looking for a vaginal birth after a caesarean, twin preparation classes as well as refresher classes for second or more time parents.

She is also a Birth & Postpartum Doula, Childbirth Educator, HypnoBirthing educator, HypnoMothering Fertility Practitioner.

Contact Chantel on 9171 4357, chantel@blooming-births.com, www.blooming-births.com.

 

Linda Tan | Inspire Mum & Baby

Linda has assisted thousands of prenatal mums in being pain-free through land and water movements, myofascial release, massage, Watsu and, most recently, working as a doula. As a certified birth and postpartum doula, Linda helps women to have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience. With her added skill-sets on anatomy knowledge, birthing movements, massage, hypnobirthing and therapy, she merges these into her doula work and helps her clients, physically and emotionally, providing evidence-based information to allow them to make informed choices. Linda believes that all births are unique and it’s important to respect the mum-to-be, giving her the love and dignity for a birth that is so pure.

Contact Linda on 9234 1866, info@inspiremumbaby.com, www.inspiremumbaby.com, 188-2 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 436990.

 

Deanna Kearns | Labour of Love

Deanna Kearns is Canadian, a mother of three, and has been a professional birth worker for the past 18 years. She has lived in Singapore for the past 10 years and, in that time, has had the privilege of attending hundreds of births, supporting many couples on their journey to becoming a family.

Deanna trained with DONA (Doulas of North America), as well as CBI (Childbirth International) and is certified in yoga for pregnancy, active birth and with babies. She is also a HypnoBirthing practitioner and studied with Gail Tully, the founder of Spinning Babies. Having had the opportunity to work and be registered in most hospitals in Singapore, she helps families to understand all their options, the protocols of each hospital, and how to advocate for what is really important to them for their birth.

Deanna encourages parents to make informed choices and to ask questions of their care providers, partners and, most of all, themselves. She is fully supportive of the expectant mother’s choices, whether it is a water birth or elective cesarean, as mothers are the true experts on their bodies and their babies. She hopes to give parents all they need to find their own voice and to advocate for themselves in order to have a supported, calm and wonderful birth experience.

Contact Deanna on 9022 7504, www.laboroflovesingapore.com, deannathedoula@gmail.com.

 

Angelyn Seet | Tree of Life Birth

Tree of Life Birth believes in holistic woman-centred care during pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood. Angelyn conducts Bradley MethodⓇ Natural Childbirth courses in small groups for both the expecting mothers and fathers, with fathers being prepared to assist as a Birth Coach. Birth doula services are available that include optional two to four home visits and full labour and birth support including breastfeeding support at your home after the birth. Prenatal and postnatal home massages are conducted at your home and Tree of Life Birth will supply the massage table. Placenta encapsulation is available and the team only makes pure placenta in vegetarian capsules with no additives.

Contact Angelyn on 9008 6556, info@treeoflifebirth.com.sg, www.treeoflifebirth.com.sg.

 

Emeline Hare | My Baby Adores

Emeline is passionate about health and well-being and is the mother of three children and author of The Gift of Birth. She has supported families across the globe, specialising in antenatal education, neonatal and postpartum care. Emeline has a science background and holds a postgraduate qualification in Antenatal Education and Neonatal Care. She spent two years training to become an accredited Breastfeeding Counsellor in the UK, and attended specialist training at the International Breastfeeding Centre, Toronto, where she lived for a year with her young family. Emeline is passionate about Baby Massage and Baby Yoga, the wonderful health benefits it provides and the deep bond and connection it brings between parent and baby.

Contact Emeline on 8298 0616, emeline@mybabyadores.com, www.mybabyadores.com.

 

Athina Vandevoort 

Athina is a midwife and doula, offering birth and postpartum doula services, private antenatal classes and lactation consultancy. Originally from Belgium, she moved to Singapore whilst pregnant and got to experience the Singaporean birthing scene from the perspective of an expecting mum. To be able to continue supporting couples through labour, she then additionally trained to become a doula. She has been preparing and assisting women in Singapore from pregnancy throughout postpartum since then. It is her absolute passion to empower women to have the birth they desire. Athina believes being surrounded by supportive professionals who believe in the mother’s innate power to birth her baby, is not a luxury, but a basic right.

Contact Athina at 8225 3743, athina.vandevoort@gmail.com.

 

Parentlink

ParentLink has the privilege of sharing the most special and awe-inspiring time with mothers-to-be - the birth of their baby. They love helping families welcome a tiny new person into the world, starting the whole life journey together.

Since 1998, ParentLink has been supporting families by providing the most comprehensive range of prenatal and postnatal services available. Their highly experienced team of doulas, childbirth educators, first—aid instructors, masseurs, counsellors and more are available for assistance. Parentlink staff have a combined 30 years’ experience in hospital labour wards, birthing centres and home births, and have supported families through all kinds of choices. Their doulas are all certified with Childbirth International, or have equivalent experience. They also specialise in childbirth education, homebirths, waterbirths and provide rental service for waterbirth pools, oxygen tanks, and birthing stools.

Contact their team on 9012 0071, info@parentlink.com.sg, www.parentlink.com.sg.

 

Kiki Porter-Wolff | WC Cheng & Associates

Kiki is a British paediatric nurse and midwife with over 40 years’ experience, the last 21 years in Asia. Her motto is Knowledge Breeds Confidence and she works as a Midwifery-doula exclusively for Dr TC Chang’s patients. Her private Hypnobirthing courses are available to the public.

Contact Kiki on 9108 5521, or at the clinic, WC Cheng & Associates, 6253 6174, Thomson Medical Centre, 339 Thomson Road, Singapore 307677.

 

Warda Yousoff | Nik's Bodywork

Warda Yusoff has offered birth and postpartum doula service to hundreds of women and families based in Singapore. As a certified doula through DONA International, she makes it her personal goal to offer the information, education, and support women/ couples need to make their own informed choices in birth and parenting, navigating through the maternal system in Singapore.

Warda graduated in Bsc in Business from University of London, UK and has trained as a Pregnancy Bodyworker Specialist through Nik’s Bodywork International with experience and certification in many natural modalities including pre natal, post natal bodywork, herbal jamu wrap belly binding, and lactation support.She has attended Childbirth Educator trainings through Birthwell Birthright In Australia and is a Certified Lamaze Childbirth Educator , LCCE in Singapore, supporting a wide variety of birth settings from natural, VBAC, Water births, C-Section, Medicated, Home and Hospital.

Warda is committed to executing and maintaining her Doula and Childbirth Educator Credentials with continual training and up-to-date information. Her services are exclusive, holistic, client-centered and culturally sensitive to women and families.

Contact Warda on 9880 1417, warda@nikbodywork.com.

 

Uma Thambidurai | Mother and Child

Uma is a British trained nurse/midwife and an IBCLC lactation consultant who has supported families in the UK, Malaysia, Australia and Singapore. She commenced her career almost forty years ago, and is passionate about and loves her role in supporting mothers and their babies.

As Director of Mother and Child, Uma and her exceptional team of health professionals, ancillary service professionals, and customer service executives strive to serve the needs of the community of expectant couples, and new parents and their babies. Uma has two married children; a daughter and son; and a cuddly grandson. At the time of printing, Mother and Child don’t offer services to be present at the birth, but they offer midwife-led antenatal classes, home visits and well baby clinics.

Contact the Centre on 6836 0063, info@motherandchild.com.sg, www.motherandchild.com.sg, 163 Tanglin Road, #03-11 Tanglin Mall, Singapore 247933.

 

Isabelle Faber | Mother and Child

Isabelle is a registered midwife with the Singapore Nursing Board and a researcher. She is a strong supporter of women’s interests and reproductive autonomy which was the topic of her thesis. She has worked in hospitals in Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland and Australia. She is an IBCLC certified Lactation Consultant, a passionate Infant Massage Instructor (IAIM) and HypnoBirthing® Practitioner.

As a lactation consultant, Isabelle can support clients prenatally at her Centre or after the baby’s birth at either the hospital or in the comfort of your home. Her aim is to support and help during the breastfeeding journey by respecting your preferences. At the time of printing, Mother and Child don’t offer services to be present at the birth, but they offer midwife-led antenatal classes, home visits and well baby clinics.

Contact the Centre on 6836 0063, info@motherandchild.com.sg, www.motherandchild.com.sg, 163 Tanglin Road, #03-11 Tanglin Mall, Singapore 247933.

 

Joanne Hunter | Mother and Child

Joanne is an Australian-trained Nurse and Midwife with over thirty years of experience. She has worked in Scotland, Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur, Australia and now Singapore. Birth suite has always been her passion and where most of her experience lies. Joanne has also worked in postnatal wards and special care nurseries and has accumulated extensive breast feeding experience. She has completed the Childbirth Educator course and facilitates Childbirth preparation classes at Mother and Child.

Joanne is available as a lactation counsellor at her Centre or for home visits. At the time of printing, Mother and Child don’t offer services to be present at the birth, but they offer midwife-led antenatal classes, home visits and well baby clinics.

Contact the Centre on 6836 0063, info@motherandchild.com.sg, www.motherandchild.com.sg, 163 Tanglin Road, #03-11 Tanglin Mall, Singapore 247933.

 

Natalie Spencer | Mother and Child

Natalie is a Registered Nurse, Registered Midwife and IBCLC Lactation Consultant from America and Australia. She has worked as a Registered Nurse in both the USA and Australia and as a Registered Midwife in Australia. She has working experience across the full spectrum of the maternity care setting and in the neonatal intensive care unit. Natalie moved to Singapore in January 2019 with her husband, and worked at Thomson Medical Centre as a Lactation Consultant prior to joining Mother and Child. At the time of printing, Mother and Child don’t offer services to be present at the birth, but they offer midwife-led antenatal classes, home visits and well baby clinics.

Contact the Centre on 6836 0063, info@motherandchild.com.sg, www.motherandchild.com.sg, 163 Tanglin Road, #03-11 Tanglin Mall, Singapore 247933.

 

Kathy Rougier | Empowa

Kathy is a trained Postpartum Doula, mother of one, who spent over 20 years in corporate business and has lived in the UK, Thailand and Singapore. She uses all of her training, life experience and passion for coaching people to support new mums, and families, through the new challenges they will face, be that holding space for their birth journey, feeding, lactation, newborn care, self care for mothers, coping mechanisms for new fathers and redefining their new futures. Empowa is all about empowering new mums, and families, to be the very best version of themselves. When a woman gives birth, she gives birth to a baby, and a mother. That change in momentum can feel monumental and women are left feeling like less of the person they used to be, and not knowing the person they have become. Empowa finds your strengths, from past and present, identifies and empowers you to be the most amazing new version of yourself, be that a SAHM or a driven working parent.

Contact Kathy on 9295 1035, empowermentdoula@gmail.com, empowa.business.site.